You are Allied agent B.J. Blazkowicz, you’ve been sent into the city of Isenstadt deep behind enemy lines to stop the Third Reich from developing mysterious powerful artefacts. These artefacts hold huge power and use Black sun energy which unveil secrets and hidden paths that you will need to use to become successful in stopping the Third Reich from global domination. Agent Blazkowicz will need to work with the resistance in this city to stop the Third Reich; pockets of resistance will be found throughout the city and will be marked on the city map. This structure helps support the incredibly farfetched story and gives a free play element with the games story’s detail as you can talk to members of the resistance for information on several different things, but most is dialogue filler to add depth to other characters in game.
There are little story events as you play through in certain areas along with more pointless dialogue. The script is structured well but is too heavy for the average shooter fan. The story is often overpowered by the constant action and violence but is interesting and necessary to move the game along to its ending.
The controls are just like COD 4 making the game very easy to play from the start. You don’t get much of a tutorial apart from certain points in the game where certain artefact powers are explained to you. Your thrust into the city and your soon on your feet as the compass at the top of the screen is easy to follow and movement is quick and smooth. You will notice straight away it has a lot of shooting action, Nazis are killed very easily but there are plenty of them, it’s the stranger more powerful possessed enemies you should worry about as they have weaknesses that need to be exploited to kill them, giving two different experiences in combat which is everywhere on the streets.
You also get a puzzle vibe from Wolfenstien as you have an artefact yourself which gives you a unique insight into another dark dimension. You have various powers giving the levels more depth and gives it another side other than the fantastic bloody gore, it also helps introduce a collection side to the game as you can collect large amounts of gold and intelligence round the city and in individual levels and even more so by using your powers. There is a lot of gold to collect in the whole game bit too much and you have to read the intelligence you get which gets very old very quickly but your are rewarded with the chance to upgrade your ability’s or buy weapons whenever you are back in the city. Some of wolfenstien’s puzzle elements work really well like the Viel Sight, look for a sun like symbol on painted onto walls then activate the viel power (Down on D-Pad) and the wall will disappear, this gives the game a good twist and is very useful. You also have the Mire power which slows down time allowing you to overcome obstacles and creates good puzzle sequences and outcomes. The Shield power is also used in different ways to progress through the game, protecting you from dangers or multiple enemies.
The guns are somewhat varied from traditional WW2 weapons to strange high tech but large crude weaponry like the Particle cannon, can change the feel of the combat completely from WW2 shooter to rampaging violence. There are also the regular mounted weapons and explosive barrels to use and good old smash boxes for ammo trick, though grenades are disappointing as the explosions and special effects aren’t great and leave a lot to be desired as most 360 titles are up to a certain standard.
The look of the levels are good but that’s it…. just good, but level design does fit well with the WW2/alien artefacts style that is Wolfenstien and it does portray a dark gothic style. There is a lot of gore, there is a lot of body dismemberment but the blood effects aren’t great either which is acceptable but slightly irritating as it wouldn’t have taken much to polish of a few sides of Wolfenstien to give you more simple pleasures like bloody headshots.
The fact that secrets could be hidden round you constantly keeps you on your toes looking for gold and has the 1st person shoot side, feeding you gore and action when tired of robbing Nazi gold. You can also upgrade your weapons sometimes making them look strange…. this helps to keep you interested and rewarded but finding every piece of gold? Good luck. The game itself is incredibly easy, a small amount of enemy’s are challenging but the puzzles aren’t challenging just different and your objectives aren’t hard either but you can still get a lot of fun out of the split personality wolfenstien has.
With all of this thrown in together in a Nazi like blender, the overall game play is interesting and entertaining for long periods of time but I can’t help feel they have brought it down with too much dialogue and too little emotion when the story scenes occur and can leave a bit of a black smudge on the title for its portrayal of its story, it is very boring to sit through. The offline campaign is too short especially with the free play and level style wolfenstien has and could make better use of its overall structure. It does however give you a different shooter to get your teeth into and attention has went into the multiplayer as well the online gives this title a longer life. You have varied modes to choose from and is set out like a simplified version of COD 4’s online but with Bad Company’s soldier classes, however the lag is appalling but you can get a good amount of decent online matches (a lot of the achievements for this game are online)
Overall Wolfenstien gives you two different shooting experiences between Dark dimensions and advanced ancient technology, and the WW2 bolt action rifles and grenades theme, both play well and merge seamlessly to give you instant access to each, creating interesting puzzles and interesting ways of solving them. Sadly it is too short and the great fighting and level structure goes to waste as there isn’t enough to play, along with most of the enemy’s are really easy to kill and a small amount of bosses, leaves the game flat and it has the same feel start to finish but with really good game play elements and ideas. The online multiplayer is much more rewarding with many more interesting modes and features to explore, which is good don’t get me wrong but should not have sacrificed the offline campaign for a better shooter online experience as COD 4 soaks most of the online user base up then followed by Bad Company and others, so it’s only worth a rent even for the online, for the simple fact it’s far too short but great ideas and cross world gaming experience.
Gamer Rating: 7.2
Buy, Rent or Pass: Buy
Published by: Activision
Developed by: Raven Software
Originally posted at www.xboxliveaddicts.co.uk